A8's sat-nav will be the first to use Google Earth images
22 December 2009

Audi’s new A8 flagship will be the first car available with a sat-nav system that can display Google Earth images and detailed 3D images of European city centres. The A8’s Google Earth option will be available from the middle of next year.

Audi says it has incorporated an ‘nVidia 3D graphics processor’ of the type used in desktop and laptop computers into the A8’s electrical system so the car’s sat-nav screen can render ‘entire maps topographically, with shading tunnels and bridges.’

Eventually, when it is fully established, Audi expects to offer Google Street view as part of the navigation system.

Three-dimensional representations of European cities are also being added to the Internet databases and Audi sources said that travel information via Wikipedia and detailed weather reports would also be particularly useful to A8 drivers.

Audi is using a GPRS/EDGE module for its standard on-board Internet connection but will add a UMTS module in 2010, which allows the latest in high-speed data transfer via the mobile network.

It’s the UTMS technology – along with an on-board 2Gb memory buffer - that will allow the Google Earth images to be downloaded to the car. Audi engineers say that A8’s ability to maintain an Internet connection only diminishes when travelling at above 125mph.

The A8 also has the ability to play MPEG-4 video files and DVDs. It can also stream music via a Bluetooth connection and play videos from an external source.

Another advantage of the UTMS connection is the ability to download the album cover artwork for a music collection, which can then be displayed as a flip chart on the car’s screen.

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Audi A8

The Audi A8 is a highly capable and desirable luxury saloon that's very easy to live with, despite its flaws

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A high-speed data link to the car will also allow for future innovations such as on-the-fly engine diagnostics and engine management updates for different driving conditions.

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22 December 2009

I love my gadgets as much as the next man, but I think we should be questioning the increasing number and complexity of distractions in the car. Too many things to fiddle with, and too much time spent with the eyes on the screen instead of on the road.

22 December 2009

Gee, wonder how much this is going to cost.

I have Google Maps on my phone. It was free (much like the phone). The fact Audi are hanging out the bunting for the same feature on their flagship product with its mortgage-rivalling price tag shows how manufacturers still have no clue where the modern world's expectations and priorities lie.

Technology such as GPS/navigation, MPEG audio and video, the internet, Google (maps, search, email, you name it), wireless, Skype etc. has become so cheap, accessible and everyday as to be almost humdrum - yet when the same tech is applied to cars it's retold in such incredible terms that we have to tick boxes and pay money for having it. Can you imagine Nokia getting away with making Bluetooth a £250 cost option on their phones? No, me either.

Even on the £80K W12 model something as common and as unglamorous as TV reception is a ludicrous £930. The chip required to do that is about £1 and you can buy a DVB card for your PC that does the same job for under £20.

22 December 2009

err why? So you can zoom in to Tokyo High Street, whilst queing up in Kensington? Hmmm useful

if it's heavy, it ain't happenin' 

22 December 2009

This must be dead end development. 2 things people want are the functions and files are mobile and that the hardware and software are renewed frequently every 6 to 24 months. Mobile phones are wrapping all this together and providing monthly contacts to cover the masses. What car developers should be providing is a plug-in for a built in monitor, interaction controls and maybe a signal booster. To try and provide anything else is duplication and outdated in the life cycle of a car.

22 December 2009

Quite. What's needed is a slot for your phone and you pay for the car's interface to it - and nothing else.

22 December 2009

[quote ThwartedEfforts]What's needed is a slot for your phone and you pay for the car's interface to it - and nothing else.

I know for a fact that ain't far off happening you'll be pleased to hear, I've seen it being trialed already with an iphone and it works well and will make much more sense.

Not sure how all this will happen in the states, as JLR for instance ain't allowed to sell the dual view screen with DVD for passengers over there due to their laws about drivers being distracted - satnav is ok but viewing video isn't - sensibly. If you can see the internet though on your screen then you could watch video via youtube - wonder how it'll be regulated?

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